Senior police officer suspended during inquiry into corruption

 

A senior police officer hailed by the British Home Secretary, Mr Jack Straw, for his controversial "zero tolerance" policing policy was suspended from duty yesterday. Cleveland police said Det Supt Ray Mallon, head of Middlesbrough CID, was being suspended on full pay over allegations relating to a continuing police corruption inquiry.

Assistant Chief Constable Robert Turnbull said Mr Mallon was alleged to have passed on information relating to the inquiry - codenamed "Operation Lancet" - to a third party and to have engaged in "alleged activities which could be construed as criminal conduct". He refused to say whether the third party was a police officer under suspicion in the corruption inquiry.

Northamptonshire Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Timpson has been appointed to take over as independent head of the corruption inquiry under the supervision of the Police Complaints Authority.

Yesterday's announcement followed the disclosure last month that two Middlesbrough detective constables had been suspended as a result of the Operation Lancet investigation.

Sean Allen and Brendan Whitehead were alleged to have supplied heroin to suspects in return for confessions, at least one of which was false.

The disclosure led to concerns that up to 500 past cases would have to be re-opened by the force.

Mr Mallon (42) last night insisted he had done nothing wrong, adding: "I have nothing to worry about."

He is a leading exponent of New York-style "zero tolerance" policing in Britain - an uncompromising approach which earned him the Press nickname "Robocop".